With Valentineâ€™s Day just around the corner, you may be thinking of a way to spice up your love life. Sexting is not going to do the trick; you really need to think twice about posting your love life online or texting it. Sending photographs of a sexual nature via electronic media is considered sexting. Technology has transformed the way we interact; unfortunately due to the ease by which we communicate with cell phones, Facebook and email it has also led to dangerous and destructive behaviors including forms of sexual harassment.
A husband is going to trail on Valentines Day, for going into his wifeâ€™s email account. As the electronic world evolves so does the concept of what is FRAUDULENT ACCESS TO COMPUTERS. Many states and Michigan in particular, are wrestling with how to interpret the law around marital privacy, especially when it comes to accessing a spouseâ€™s email, social media, text or voice mail accounts without their permission.
We all know that reading someone else’s email without their permission is a bad idea. But did you know it’s quite possibly a crime? Prosecutors in Michigan think so and have charged Leon Walker with a felony based upon allegations that he read his wife’s email and accessed her password without her permission. Walker claims he accessed his wife’s Gmail account out of concern for her son from a previous marriage, who’s father had recently been arrested for abusing the boy’s mother. Walker was charged with violating a felony statute relating to identity theft. His case is the first time that charges have been filed under that statute in a domestic case and many lawyers are questioning the validity of the charges, as explained in this Yahoo News article: (E)xperts are saying that the â€œgray areaâ€ surrounding the circumstances of the situation could make it difficult for the prosecution…The defense attorney, Leon Weiss, argues that the statute is being used incorrectly. â€œThis is a hacking statute, the kind of statute they use if you try to break into a government system or private business for some nerfarious purpose. Itâ€™s to protect against identity fraud, to keep somebody from taking somebodyâ€™s intellectual property.â€ Regardless of whether the criminal charges are appropriate, it’s safe to say that if nothing else, it was a bad idea for Walker to access his wife’s email without her permission. Whether his conduct amounts to a felony, or even criminal conduct,Â remains to be seen, however. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting issue and one that will no doubt crop up again in the future. Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handlesÂ workersâ€™ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and email@example.com. Related articles Is reading wife’s e-mail a crime? (freep.com) Is snooping in your spouse’s e-mail a crime? (today.msnbc.msn.com) Man faces charges for reading wife’s e-mail (msnbc.msn.com) Man Prosecuted for Reading Wife’s E-Mail Without Her Authorization (volokh.com)
Image via Wikipedia Eric Turkewitz at the New York Personal Injury Law Blog recently noted that a New York court wisely banned the use of social security numbers in subpoenas: (Y)esterday, in the New York Law Journal, (no link) comes the story of Supreme Court Justice F. Dana Winslow of Nassau County refusing to sign subpoenas in a medical malpractice case because the social security numbers were on it. In an interview with the NYLJ, the judge said that he gets papers with Social Security numbers on a weekly basis but this was “the first time I had a chance to do anything about it” because ordering the subpoena would have placed it in the public record. Eric Turkewitz has blogged about client privacy and court records in the past and raises a very valid concern in regard to social security numbers. This is an issue that all lawyers should keep in mind when filing papers with the court on behalf of their clients. This also touches on a broader issue: Any information contained in documents filed with the court has the potential to haunt clients down the road. When clients choose to file a lawsuit, they must understand that they are putting themselves out there in the public record. For example, a client who alleged in a Complaint in a personal injury case that he suffered from severe back injuries as a result of a car accident might later find that a future employer learned of his injury after reviewing the court filings. Likewise, in divorce proceedings, court records likely contain all sorts of sensitive, private information and potentially embarrassing information that is readily available to the public, should anyone care to obtain the records. And, in Cook County, Illinois, judges refuse to seal divorce records unless the case involves a minor. In this modern world, where public records can be easily accessed and quickly distributed using the Internet, it is important that both attorneys and their clients keep these risks in mind and be wary of unnecessarily including sensitive and confidential information in documents filed with the court.
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